A few fluff pieces, first the equipment of the JSDF isn't that up to date:
A police unit is set to defend disputes islets:Why This One Japanese Rifle Is Causing Major Headaches
by Charlie Gao
The lack of a standardized optic and modern rail for the Type 89 limits their usability in a modern environment. Almost every major Western military has fielded a combat optic as a standard on their service rifle since the 2000s, and Japan’s lack of ability to standardize puts them behind the curve.
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The standard issue rifle of the average soldier tends to be among the oldest equipment issued by a military. Russian Ground and Airborne Troops use variations of a rifle designed in the 1970s, the U.S. military uses variations of a design from the late 1950s. Japan stands in contrast, using a rifle designed in 1989 (albeit based on an earlier American design from the 1960s). But despite their usage of recent designs, the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) have fallen behind their Western and even Russian counterparts in updating their rifles to modern standards.
The primary rifle in JSDF service is the Howa Type 89. This rifle is roughly based off and uses the same operating system as the Armalite AR-18, a 5.56mm rifle designed as an alternative to the AR-15 family of rifles. Unlike the AR-15, in which gas travels all the way to the upper receiver to impinge on a piston inside the bolt carrier group, the AR-18 utilizes a short-stroke gas operating system where the gas impinges on a tappet which then pushes the bolt back to cycle the action. Like the AR-18, the Type 89 is made primarily from sheet metal due to its ease of manufacture and cost effectiveness. Despite being a stamped gun—due to strict Japanese export laws and limited demand from the JSDF—the per-unit cost of the Type 89 is rather high. The rifle comes in two variants, the standard Type 89 and the folding stock Type 89F. The rifle was adopted in 1989 following development throughout the 1980s and was a joint development of Toyo Corporation and the Defense Agency. Interestingly, the rifle features three fire modes: semi-automatic, three-round burst and fully automatic.
(This first appeared in June 2018.)
The Type 89 has some minor ergonomic problems. The rifle is hard to reload rapidly since the stamped steel construction of the magazine well doesn’t have a taper like the magazine well lower receiver of an M4 or M16. While shorter than the M16, the Type 89 is still long compared to the carbines that are becoming standard issue in Western militaries. The most glaring issue with the Type 89 is the JSDF’s lack of commitment to a real program to put modern accessories on their rifle. The standard Type 89 only has provisions to mount an optical sight (with an adapter), a brass catcher bag, a bipod and a bayonet.
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In contrast, the standard U.S. Army M4 or Marine Corps M4, M16A4, or M27 will have provisions to mount optical sights, lasers, handgrips and lights in a modular manner. The upper receiver of these rifles have a built in rails and don’t require an adapter plate to mount optics. Both the Army and Marine Corps have adopted standardized optical sights. The JSDF has not standardized any sighting system. Sights have been reported from older Aimpoint models, to Trijicon ACOGs, to indigenous Japanese red dots. These sights require an additional adapter plate to be attached to the receiver of the rifle, adding additional weight and height over bore. Recently, Japanese soldiers have been seen with Low-Power Variable Optics (LPVOs) similar to those favored by American competitive shooters and Special Operation Forces. These are indigenous designs that appear to mount directly to the upper receiver without the need for an adapter plate. They appear to be distributed by a company called Operation Training Service (OTS), as they show up in their catalog. Handguard rails for the Type 89 that would allow for easy mounting of lights, lasers, and other components also appear to be distributed or made by OTS, but they appear to be extremely rare in usage.
The lack of a standardized optic and modern rail for the Type 89 limits their usability in a modern environment. Almost every major Western military has fielded a combat optic as a standard on their service rifle since the 2000s, and Japan’s lack of ability to standardize puts them behind the curve. Optics increase accuracy, magnified optics also increase the ability for a soldier to engage at range and identify and spot targets. There appeared to be a standard new rail and stock package along with a bulky optic that was planned to be procured with the Japanese “Future Soldier” program in 2014, but this program has appeared to be axed. On top of that, the reliability of the Type 89 has been reported by some servicemen to be inferior to American service rifles. “Special” units in the JSDF have adopted foreign weapons instead of sticking with the Type 89 as a result of these shortcomings.
The problem is even worse for some of Japan’s other infantry arms. The standard designated marksman rifle, the Howa Type 64 lacks the sight mounting plate found on the Type 89. The solutions to mount sights have proven incredibly janky, albeit creative. Notably, one soldier was found using a Russian ZenitCo B-12 mounting system that was originally designed for AK-type rifles to mount an optical sight on his Type 64. Other mounting systems for the Type 64 mount the sight incredibly high up on the rifle, making it hard to maintain a solid cheek weld, which is considered to be important for long distance shots. The situation for the JSDF’s standard light machinegun appears to be better. A copy of the FN Minimi, it has a Picatinny rail on the dust cover and appears to be used frequently with an LPVO.
As Japan bolsters its military to deter China and other regional rivals, it should formulate a plan to comprehensively bring their infantry arms up to the Western standard. When the JGSDF’s new Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade was activated in April 2018—their first marine unit since WWII—the soldiers participating were seen only with iron sights. The average U.S. Marine rifleman qualifies with a 4x optic on his rifle.
Japan is bolstering its defense of a group of East China Sea islets disputed with China and other far-flung isles, with the establishment of a special police unit armed with automatic weapons, the public broadcaster NHK reported on Monday. The police unit will be based on the southern island of…
And here's a few months old piece where they used anime boys to try to recruit new folks:A Japan Coast Guard vessel sails in front of Uotsuri island, one of the disputed islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. Photo: REUTERS fileNationalJapan to set up police unit to help defend disputed islets: NHK
Sep. 3 06:38 am JST 53 Comments
Japan is bolstering its defense of a group of East China Sea islets disputed with China and other far-flung isles, with the establishment of a special police unit armed with automatic weapons, the public broadcaster NHK reported on Monday.
The police unit will be based on the southern island of Okinawa, which is 420 km east of the disputed outcrops, which are controlled by Japan and known as the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
"Assuming scenarios that include illegal landing by an armed group, highly trained members equipped with sub-machine guns will be deployed," NHK said on its report. It did not identify its sources.
Japan's military and coast guard have boosted their postures around the disputed islands but this will be the first time the police have set up a unit in the region to help defend them, NHK said.
No officials were immediately available for comment at the National Police Agency.
The police agency, in a budget request for the year from next April, is asking for 159 additional officers in Okinawa and Fukuoka, another southern prefecture, to boost its capability to respond to situations on remote islands, it said.
Japan's relations with China have long been strained by the island row and the legacy of Japan's World War Two aggression.
In 2012, a group of Chinese activists landed on one of the disputed islets and raised a Chinese flag, to the outrage of Japan.
But the neighbors have sought to improve relations more recently, with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visiting Beijing in October last year when both countries pledged to forge closer ties.
Recently, Japan’s Self-Defense Forces have been using anime-style artwork, and in some cases preexisting anime characters, for their recruiting posters. In a way, it makes sense. Many of the most popular anime follow their main characters as they train themselves and/or utilize high-spec...
Photo: JSDF Ibaraki Provincial Cooperation OfficeLifestyleSelf-Defense Forces enlist anime boys to try to attract new human recruits
Apr. 13 06:26 am JST 6 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24
Recently, Japan’s Self-Defense Forces have been using anime-style artwork, and in some cases preexisting anime characters, for their recruiting posters. In a way, it makes sense. Many of the most popular anime follow their main characters as they train themselves and/or utilize high-spec technology to protect the people and lands they love, which more-or-less aligns with the intended mission of the JSDF.
For example, in 2014 the JSDF recruiters in Ibaraki Prefecture debuted I☆P’s (pronounced “Ai Peace,” meaning “love and peace” in Japanese). The trio of cute anime-style girls consists of Hibari, Nobara, and Koume, who represent the air, maritime, and ground branches of the Self-Defense Forces.
▼ The characters’ names are also references to Ibaraki’s prefectural bird (hibari/lark), flower (bara/rose), and tree (ume/plum).
The I☆P’s girls have gotten annual art updates since their debut, but for 2019, the Ibaraki JSDF recruiters have decided to try a new tactic: handsome anime boys.
The three boys, who are currently unnamed, were drawn by illustrator Erikon, who also produced the 2018 I☆P’s poster. As with their female counterparts, each represents a different branch of the organization, with the fiery redhead symbolizing the Ground Self-Defense Forces, the stoic young man in white the Maritime SDF, and the flyboy with sky blue hair the Air SDF.
The JSDF Ibaraki Provincial Cooperation Office says it asked Erikon to design a trio with the aesthetics of popular shonen manga (boys’ comics) or mobile games, and indeed the characters look like they could change out of their JSDF uniforms and into sports ones and become the stars of a youth athletics anime, maybe as a volleyball or three-on-three basketball team.
Fans of I☆P’s don’t need to worry, though. While it’s not known whether or not the girls will be getting a new poster commissioned in 2019, the Ibaraki JSDF has said that they’re not retiring the female spokescharacters, and that they’ll be working alongside the boys from here on out.
Source: JSDF Ibaraki Provincial Cooperation Office via Hachima Kiko